CCE released its Q1 results yesterday

CCE released its Q1 results yesterday

The head of Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has said pressure on volumes growth in Europe will continue through the first half of the year before stabilising.

During an analysts' conference call yesterday (25 April), John Brock, CCE's chief executive, said that a “more moderate” pricing strategy has help the company post a 1% volumes growth in the UK in Q1 results. Despite concerns over the rest of Europe, Brock remained optimistic over hitting full-year targets.  

“The second quarter will be a challenging quarter for a whole variety of reasons, but we anticipate volume growth for the complete 2013 year,” he said.

CCE's European head, Hubert Patricot, said a problem in France with an unnamed customer over getting products on shelves had contributed to continental Europe's 3.5% volumes drop. However, he said the problem is now solved, without giving details, and plans are in place to boost volumes.

In first-quarter results, released yesterday, CCE saw net profits tumble by 44% to US$61m. The company also said it will pass on an option to buy The Coca-Cola Co's German bottling operations, but in the call Brock suggested the deal could still complete at a later date.

“The future is entirely open,” Brock said. “And frankly, whether there's some other potential acquisition opportunity out there or whether there's some logic in rediscussing Germany, everything is on the table.”

The option, part of Coca-Cola's takeover of CCE's operations in North America in 2010, expires on 25 May.